OMG it's Christmas already! How did that happen? It seems like only a few weeks ago I was stressing about my July tax return and recording my ice bucket challenge at the snow (I think that must have worked as I don't see the videos anymore). Now I can enjoy some relaxing shopping at the mall with my closest 1,000,000 friends and start up my paper round on the weekend to keep my cash flow solid. I love Christmas!!
As some of you might know, I run a small business called Social Star and we have a small but beautiful staff of six. We have been running for just over a year and although I had planned for world domination at the end of 2014, somehow we are not all millionaires...yet. Thus, my Christmas ideas of buying all my staff Audi R8's full of gold bullion and Magnums of French Champaign will have to wait until next Christmas.
So this begs the question - what do I get talented and hard working staff who all have lots of cool 'stuff' when I am on a budget? How do I express my extreme gratitude of their support and hard work without lots of branded material possessions? It's a hard decision, but one that got me thinking of what my top 5 gifts on a budget would be. Let me know if you agree or have any more suggestions as there is only a week left!
Andy's Top 5 Christmas Gift Ideas from the Heart not the Wallet:
1) LOVE LETTERS
Now when I say love letters, I of course mean that in a business context. Writing a personal letter about how much you appreciate someone is an almost lost art form. I was reminded how powerful this really is when I bumped into an ex employee from many years ago. She told me she still has the appreciation letter I wrote her on Christmas five years ago! Don't underestimate how much the personal touch means to people.
2) LINKEDIN REVIEW
If your not as open minded as I am and think a personal letter might not be your style, try a LinkedIn review. Helping a staff member build their personal brand is a big deal. It shows you care about their future and are prepared to put your name to it publicly. Also most bosses say they will do this but from my experience don't bother. So bother.
3) EXTENDED LEAVE
Everyone loves a holiday, but not everyone has the holiday leave required to go on that dream trip. I recently let one of my key staff take a dream trip to see her family overseas, even though she doesn't have enough leave and is going away early in the new year too. Sure it will require a bit of extra work for me but I would want the leave if I had the desire to go away. So go, live your dream! Granting these small favours keeps them loving where they work and nothing is more important than that.
4) LEVERAGE YOUR INFLUENCE
If you are a manager it's likely you have some great contacts or opportunities your staff would value from. First find out what they love: is it technology, eating out, fashion, movies...whatever it is see what you can leverage to get them something special.
For instance, I have blogged before about being a Lenovo ambassador so I can give staff a20% discount on any of their gear to buy for someone special. Saves them money, costs me nothing! Maybe they will buy me what I want, this awesome Yoga 2 tablet with a projector it's so BOSS! (Santa you listening? Or at least my staff perhaps...hello...)
Another option is you could introduce them to someone they have always wanted to meet. A potential mentor or contact at a restaurant so when they take their partner they feel important. These small connections can be really inspiring to people if it meets their values.
5) YOUR TIME
Finally the thing that I feel all people want at Christmas more than any present or gift, is simply you. The gift of your time and attention is really what Christmas is all about. Spend some time with your staff, ask them about their lives and dreams, get to know them and share a bit about yourself too. Time is our most precious resource as it's the one thing you can't get anymore of. Isn't that the most special gift you could give, one that costs nothing and no one else can give them - a tiny bit of you.
I hope you enjoyed my blog and I will keep posting over the holiday period but if I don't see you before the big day Merry Christmas to you and your families!
P.S. On my list was also a visit from Santa to your staff, but I'm not sure I am in a position to ask the big guy for any favours so kept this one on the low down.
P.P.S Thanks to my sponsors #Lenovo_ANZ who look after me and allow me to look after others too. #YOGAmyway
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